Posts tagged with "science"
Dr. Cooks was featured on CNN recently. It's pretty cool to see your mentor on such a big stage:
I haven't updated my thoughts on here in awhile. Lindsay is doing an excellent job of keeping it all up to date.
My job is going really well. I actually enjoy getting up early every day. The people I work with are great, and the project I'm working on is exciting.
That's is for now. I can't wait until our entire family is together and living a normal life soon! Thank you for your prayers and support.
I know that this is completely off-topic from Burke. However, I wanted to let you all know that my third publication has been published online. You can read the abstract here.
I thought that I would throw in a post to update everyone of my situation. I have told Dr. Cooks that I am without a doubt going to stop with a Master's as soon as possible. Although he is somewhat disappointed by the decision, he affirmed that he "understands" why I'm doing it. With that being said, I am now looking for employment as a M.S. analytical chemist. I would definitely like to stay in the Lafayette/Indianapolis area. Thankfully there are several possibilities for me to pursue:
Griffin Analytical was started by graduates of my current lab, and is based in the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette. So it would be a short drive ( : Additionally, they do the exact kind of work that I love to do: building and testing mass spectrometers. I'm a geek, I know. They have several positions open, and I've heard promising things about my possibly working there as a scientist. This would be a great job, and I think that I would really love it.
Indigo Biosystems is based in Carmel, IN and develops software for processing mass spectrometric data. It was also started by a graduate of my lab. Although the drive might be ~1 hr, I think that I would really enjoy working there. There is a position open for a "software engineer". If I take this position, I will have to learn some new programming languages, but that's something that I've wanted to do for awhile anyway. This job would be an interesting mix of my likes for MS and programming. I am admittedly not a formally educated and experienced programmer, but hopefully Indigo could look past that and I could learn quickly. Plus, I would get to work with an old friend, Amy Tabert (who happens to read this blog regularly...Hi Amy). Amy has forwarded my resume to the president of the company, and I look forward to hearing from them.
Prosolia is based in downtown Indianapolis, and was (surprise) started by people from my current lab. They primarily sell DESI ion sources, but they are also considering commercializing a soft landing instrument (much like the one I have built here at Purdue). I emailed a former lab member named Brian Laughlin about the possibility of working there. He said that they may be interested in hiring me as well. They apparently have a lot of work coming down the pike and need more people to handle it. Although this job would not be as much strict instrument development, I think that I would still enjoy the work and the company.
So, I have a few options that I'm trying to work out right now. I have not had any offers, but none of the doors have been shut yet. Hopefully God will make the decision clear for me in the near future.
For those of you who didn’t know, I spent the last week in Richland, WA at Pacific Northwest National Labs (PNNL), a well-respected government lab run by the Department of Energy. I specifically worked in the lab of Dr. Julia Laskin at the Environmental and Molecular Sciences Building (EMSL). I was accompanied by Wen-Ping Peng, a post-doc from our group. We were trying to learn from a instrument that Julia’s group built for ion “soft landing” onto surfaces. We actually learned a lot of science while we were there, but that would bore you all out of your minds. So, I’m going to try to convey other things that I learned on the trip:
1.) I can not be content without my wife. It is rough to go a week without my wonderful wife. I missed her from the very first day. I’m not just saying this stuff to be sappy either. I just really enjoy her company, love, smiles, affection, etc. I am extremely thankful to God for Lindsay.
2.) It is hard to be a vegetarian in the U.S. Wen-Ping is a vegetarian, and it was interesting to see him eat at American restaurants. I never realized how probably 95% of our food is centered around meat. He pretty much had to order a veggie burger at every place we ate (other than the Chinese places). I know that vegetarians are a small percentage of our population and that restaurants should not be expected to cater to them, but I was still surprised at the limited options available.
3.) Government labs are not in very fun locations. PNNL is in Richland, WA…compared to Lafayette, Indianapolis, and Chicago, the lab might as well be in the middle of nowhere. One of the post-docs we worked with was constantly complaining about it, and to some extent I agreed with him. I’m sure that this setting helps to increase the amount of work done. Actually, it’s not all that bad. It just wasn’t as big as I expected.
4.) It is hard to move to a totally different country/culture. Watching Wen-Ping adjust to American life is very interesting. He reluctant to give up any of his Chinese traditions, habits, etc…He and his family frequently eat Chinese food; he frequently talks to other Chinese people in Chinese rather than English, etc., etc. I can’t say that I blame him. It has to be extremely difficult to adjust to a totally different culture. I can’t imagine trying to go live in Taiwan or China. I tried my best to help him adjust, and was pretty successful I think…He’s doing much better at adjusting than I think I could.
5.) The world is continually shrinking. Today at lunch I ate with a party of seven from PNNL and was the only American. There were people from Algeria, Russia, Israel, China and Taiwan. Honestly, I didn’t even realize it until we were almost done. I think that it’s good to be in contact with such diverse people. It really helps me to appreciate all of the world’s people groups and what they have to offer…and I’m not just trying to be PC there.
6.) There’s no place like home. I have lived in Indiana my whole life, and I appreciate it even more now. I don’t know what it is (probably familiarity, family, friends, experiences, etc), but I love Indiana. I hope that we can live there our whole lives…unless God call us elsewhere. I might just sing a few bars of “Back Home Again in Indiana” when we land ( : That would surprise Wen-Ping.
All in all, it was a great learning experience on all fronts. I got to know Wen-Ping pretty well. I am trying my best to be a example of godliness and holiness to him so that I can share my faith with him. He is a devout Buddhist, and I truly respect him for his faith. I just hope that I can tell him enough about Christianity so that he can make a decision one way or the other…
I think I’ve written enough. It was a good trip, and I’m thankful for the experience. I look forward to building this new instrument when we get back to Indiana. I’m also especially looking forward to my wife’s beautiful smile!
I was reading an article on Christianity Today about Dallas Willard, a philosophy professor at USC. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I especially liked one quote:
In philosophy classes, Willard mentions the Intelligent Design debate as an example of the battle over who gets to decide what constitutes knowledge. He says this is important, because it inevitably determines who has the right to formulate and carry out public policy. It annoys him that people who identify with science, professionally or otherwise, get to decide what knowledge is, while people who aren’t scientists can rarely be taken seriously in the id debate. “There is knowledge of God and the spiritual nature of man, as well as other types of reality (e.g. moral obligations) that are not reducible to the world dealt with by the so-called ‘natural sciences.’ The idea that knowledge—and, of course, reality—is limited to that world is the single most destructive idea on the stage of life today.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
For our Friday movie night we decided to rent “Kingdom of Heaven.”
The story begins with a man whose life is ruined after the death of his child and suicide of his wife. However, through a series of events he becomes a great leader of the city of Jerusalem. Besides being a great “guy” movie, it really made me think a lot.
I know it’s not a truly accurate portrayal of the Crusades time period, but it made me realize how much people in the past saw God’s hand in the events of their nation and their personal lives (even if they didn’t act Christ-like). They would rely on God’s will determining what happened. I wish that our society could get back to that somewhat. In our “enlightened” age, we seem to think that we can predict and explain virtually everything that happens in our world, and we push aside any role that the supernatural might play.
As a scientist, I see this attitude a lot…which is extremely frustrating. Of all people, scientists should realize that we have a limited understanding of why things happen. Sure, we can explain in great detail how certain things happen, but we have no comprehension as to why they happen. Also, any attempts to say that we “know” what happened over millions and billions of years (and therefore know something about the presence/absence of a god) are ridiculous and are overstepping the bounds of science.
Basically, I’m tried of people trying to prove or disprove the presence of God through science. Science simply seeks to explain how our universe behaves, not what created the universe or motivates it to behave in such a way. Okay, I’m done. I don’t like to use this blog as a “diary” of my thoughts, but this movie really got my wheels spinning. Maybe one day we will turn back to reliance on God’s will and the role that it plays in our world rather than following only our own knowledge and will.